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Report: Charlotte continues to see declines in underwater homes

The Charlotte area had fewer underwater homes in the third quarter compared with the second quarter thanks to ongoing gains in home prices, real estate data firm CoreLogic said Tuesday.

Across the metropolitan area, 8.4 percent of residential properties with a mortgage were underwater, which means the borrowers owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. That was down from 9.1 percent in the second quarter. The region had 39,229 underwater properties in the third quarter, compared with 42,013 properties in the second quarter.

Nationwide, roughly 6.4 million homes, or 13 percent, were underwater, down from 7.2 million homes, or 14.7 percent, in the second quarter,

CoreLogic said increases in U.S. home prices are resulting in fewer homes being underwater, also known as in negative equity, as their owners regain lost equity. The Irvine, Calif.-based company said appreciation has helped more than 3 million property owners regain equity since the first quarter of this year.

Last week, the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association reported that Charlotte-area home prices rose 9.2 percent on average in November from a year ago, an increase the group said was driven by low supplies of homes for sale. November inventory was at a five-month supply. A balanced housing market has an approximately six-month supply, according to a widely accepted definition.

The Charlotte region has continued to see declines in underwater homes. In June, CoreLogic reported that 13 percent of homeowners in the area were underwater in the first quarter, down from 17.6 percent in the fourth quarter of last year and 18.8 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

CoreLogic said Tuesday that 4.1 percent, or 18,958 residential properties, were in near negative equity in the third quarter in the Charlotte area, down from 4.6 percent, or 21,148, in the second quarter.

Nationwide, the number of underwater homes will keeping falling in coming quarters as the U.S. housing market continues to improve, CoreLogic said.

Roberts: 704-358-5248; Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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